Padilla, Chu, Napolitano, Community Leaders Celebrate Expansion of San Gabriel Mountains National Monument

WATCH: Padilla champions Monument expansion of more than 105,000 acres

LOS ANGELES, CA — U.S. Senator Alex Padilla (D-Calif.) and Representatives Judy Chu (D-Calif.-28) and Grace Napolitano (D-Calif.-31) joined local government officials and community leaders to celebrate President Biden’s recent expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The proclamation adds over 105,000 acres of protected land to the south and west of the previously-designated Monument, which will protect biodiversity, safeguard cultural, tribal, and scientific history, and increase access to green space for millions of Angelenos.

The expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument followed significant advocacy from Senator Padilla and Representative Chu, and the final proclamation mirrored Padilla’s PUBLIC Lands Act and Chu’s San Gabriel Mountains Foothills and Rivers Protection Act. Last year, Padilla and Chu wrote a letter and hosted an event to call on the Biden Administration to expand California’s San Gabriel Mountains National Monument boundary by issuing a presidential proclamation under the Antiquities Act of 1906.

“Expanding the San Gabriel Mountains Monument is a major win for our planet and our communities — far too many low-income Angelenos live closer to polluting industries than they do to local parks. I was grateful to celebrate this milestone alongside the advocates and allies who were instrumental in securing this expansion. I’m confident that we’ll continue to roll up our sleeves and protect California’s natural wonders for decades to come,” said Senator Padilla. 

“What a momentous day for Angelenos. Thanks to the passionate advocacy for many decades of a vibrant, diverse coalition of Indigenous community leaders, community activists, and nature-lovers across Southern California, President Biden is expanding the boundaries of the existing San Gabriel Mountains National Monument and protecting more of a national treasure in our backyard. I’m exceptionally proud to have worked in Congress with Senator Padilla, other elected officials, and many local advocacy groups for over a decade to highlight the significance of the San Gabriel Mountains to our environment, economy, water, recreation, and health. President Biden’s actions here bring us closer to achieving his goal of conserving 30 percent of U.S. land and water by 2030 and help cement his legacy as a champion of conservation and our environment. As we celebrate this proclamation, let’s recommit to protecting these pristine public lands for the future and working together to give everyone access to their immense benefits,” said Representative Chu.

“It is because of our active community organizations, such as the Wilderness Society, Nature for All, and many more, and the leadership of Congresswoman Judy Chu, Senator Padilla, Supervisor Hilda Solis, and of course, Presidents Obama and Biden, that we have this National Monument and are celebrating its long-awaited expansion. The Monument enshrines our commitment to protect America’s natural wonders for future generations, honor areas of cultural significance to Tribal Nations and Indigenous peoples, and expand Southern California’s access to nature. As the expansion brings much needed funding and resources to the communities that serve as the gateway to the mountains, we will continue to foster a close relationship between those communities and cities around the Monument and the National Parks Service,” said Representative Napolitano.

“I’m thrilled and deeply thankful. President Biden’s action protects two very special places in California for future generations. It demonstrates this President’s remarkable conservation leadership, which has driven historic amounts of public land protection and investments over the last four years. These monument expansions, combined with the establishment of new proposed monuments in California currently under consideration, are win-win actions that benefit California’s people and nature alike. They will help us conserve 30 percent of California’s lands by 2030, protect sacred cultural sites, and enshrine access to our public lands,” said California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot.

“I’m delighted about the announcement of the expansion of the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument — an initiative I helped kickstart during my time in Congress when I introduced H.R. 519, known as the San Gabriel River Watershed Study Act. The San Gabriel Mountains are critical open spaces for many underserved communities in Los Angeles County that lack parks and suffer from severe health issues. I thank President Joe Biden for granting such protection to the western Angeles National Forest as it will ensure our future generations have access to critical open spaces,” said Supervisor Hilda L. Solis, Los Angeles County District 1.

“We are thrilled that the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is expanding. We thank the Biden administration for making this longstanding vision a reality. Expanding the monument helps protect lands of cultural importance to my people who are part of this nation’s history and who have cared for these lands since time immemorial. It also further protects areas that are critical for our environment and the wildlife and plants that depend on this landscape,” said Rudy Ortega Jr., L.H.D., President, Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians.

“We add our voices in celebration of expanding the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument. The San Gabriel Mountains are historically significant to our tribe, our people, and our culture. Protecting more of this important region helps protect our traditional plants and cultural resources. We join Senator Padilla and Representative Chu in thanking President Biden for using the Antiquities Act to expand the monument,” said Chief Anthony Morales, Gabrieleño San Gabriel Band of Mission Indians.

“Our lineal heritage is deeply connected to the San Gabriel Mountains, a site now recognized as a national monument. For millennia, our ancestors have protected this resource-rich sacred landscape. As we celebrate this acknowledgment, our commitment remains unwavering in preserving the land’s natural beauty and cultural significance for future generations. We hope that this federal jurisdiction strengthens our capacity to continue our ancestral guardianship and ensures that we are not excluded from protecting these sacred grounds, fulfilling our vision for the monument’s preservation,” said Chairman Andrew Salas, Kizh Nation. 

“Our local community is overjoyed to see this next step in a 20-year effort to permanently protect the San Gabriel Mountains. The area included in the expanded San Gabriel Mountains National Monument is the closest section of the National Forest to the San Fernando Valley; this action helps ensure environmental justice for communities who lack access to green and open spaces throughout Los Angeles County. Thank you, President Biden, for taking this action to benefit the health and well-being of millions of Angelenos and to Vice President Harris for championing the protection of these special public lands!” said Belén Bernal, Executive Director, Nature for All.

A list of supporter quotes is available here.

Senator Padilla’s Protecting Unique and Beautiful Landscapes by Investing in California (PUBLIC) Lands Act — which contains provisions to restore and expand protections for over 1 million acres of California’s public lands, including the San Gabriel Mountains National Monument — advanced out of the Senate Committee on Energy and Natural Resources last year. Following their advocacy, Padilla and Chu welcomed a visit from Biden Administration officials, including U.S. Department of Agriculture Under Secretary Dr. Homer Wilkes, to the San Gabriel Mountains for a public listening session on expanding the Monument last year.

Photos of the event are available here.

A map of the expansion is available here.

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